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Horizon: Zero Dawn

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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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Well, the game will be available for play in about 8 hours as of this post. I found a Digital Foundry video quite interesting... it covers the multitude of graphics stuttering issues, not dependent on CPU and GPU capabilities...
I am sure that in the future (who knows when), several patches will most likely address these issues. Additionally, with so many potential PC configurations, some may experience the same issues, or it will run better/worse than what the video breaks down. My guess is that the port is not efficiently utilizing graphics rendering capabilities of current GPUs compared to designing the game for PS4 exclusively. Another potential issue might be that it's rendering frames without properly utilizing/offloading to system RAM. Lots of these moments remind me of a game that is dumping the buffer cache and attempting to short-load a few seconds at a time.
Time will tell if things get better some time down the road, but if the game ends up being a herky-jerky frame-jumping extravaganza, I might have to refund it within an hour.

At the very least, I will probably start out conservatively on GFX settings (medium shadows, most things on high with my laptop's RTX 2080) to gauge performance from the middle-high ground before bumping up in steps. Oh, and I'll try to remember to always switch to Windowless/Border mode and back to "Fullscreen" to disengage the 1080p upscale to 4k on startup.

*sigh*

 
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Undisclos3d

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@KcMsterpce thanks for posting that video. I was just debating on buying the game and giving it a shot. I was kind of questioning the game, since I knew it was a port. I'll go ahead and wait a while and see how things pan out on the game. I was looking forward to the story and of course seeing the graphics, but seems like most ports lately aren't really optimized for PC.
 
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n1njacatz

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May 20, 2020
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I will have to check out that video when I have some time, but this sounds extremely disappointing.
 
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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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@KcMsterpce thanks for posting that video. I was just debating on buying the game and giving it a shot. I was kind of questioning the game, since I knew it was a port. I'll go ahead and wait a while and see how things pan out on the game. I was looking forward to the story and of course seeing the graphics, but seems like most ports lately aren't really optimized for PC.
This is an interesting scenario, since it's rare for Playstation Exclusives to jump to PC. This title is bouncing right off of "Detroit: Become Human" (which you just talked about) and most obviously, "Death Stranding".
I played "only" 11 hours of "Death Stranding", and I wasn't digging the shit it was shoveling in its core game mechanics, but... it is an excellent port. I have zero issues about how faithful it is to the gameplay mechanics, and the graphics are an obvious LEAP compared to what PS4, or even PS4 Pro, is capable of providing. I wish I enjoyed the game more because I wanted so much to dive into 40+ more hours of gaming that I enjoy. Alas, the game doesn't work so much for me, but I have nothing negative to say about it as a port to PC. They did an excellent job with it.
I am trying to stay awake for a couple/few more hours to try Horizon when it's available. Word on the street is that there is a huge patch included with the preload... so I'm curious now more than anything to see how it works on my laptop. I won't go to PC, since I'm lazy and fat and can't walk 20 feet to my PC. I will be sitting on my huge ass with my laptop in front of me, should I be awake when it's available for play. ;)


I will have to check out that video when I have some time, but this sounds extremely disappointing.
As I mentioned in this same post... I'm more curious to see if it plays smoothly at all. Regardless, the video is informative and helpful. Should the last-minute patch make a difference or not depends on your hardware configuration based on how the port reacts to it, methinks.
 
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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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I stayed up last night to play Horizon, just for kicks and giggles. But, I usually go to bed at 9:30pm, so by 11pm I was fading. It was almost midnight and I looked at the countdown timer, it said 2min 54sec until unlock. My first thought was "Hm, I don't know if I can stay awake much longer." Next thing I know, it's 1:15am or something because I immediately fell asleep lol

Anyhoo, I played a bit this morning. After 20+ minutes of the pre-render loading screen (just like with Read Dead Redemption 2 when you first load it), I started to play and... yep, it's a herky-jerky, stilted gaming experience. It is just like playing on a PS3 or PS4 that is having a hard time maintaining a playable FPS rate. I started in 4k at medium settings, and my eyes were strained a bit because of the mix between both the way the graphics of the game look, and because it was so jittery. I then switched down to 1080p, mostly medium settings. No change.

Regardless, I do want to keep playing. I think I will have to jump onto my PC and see if the experience is smoother with a better CPU. I doubt it, based on the video in the initial post.

I ain't digging the game with a controller. I am going to jump in next time with mouse and keyboard. Additionally, the FOV is set at 70. I will probably bump it up to 90 or so. The camera feels too constrained and claustrophobic. The graphics are pretty, but the extensive amounts of grass flow in a strange manner, and it seems kind of blocky and artificial. It's like I'm playing a game with realistic and meticulously rendered mountains, skies, clouds, and twilight. Then, the grass is a cut and paste animation style coming straight from "Borderlands". Then, when it's time to start tracking paths of animals, there's a slew of fluorescent globs filling my vision, confounding me amidst artificial foliage. At this point, I have a bit of artificial sensory overload. In time, my eyes and mind should adjust. However, all of these aspects ON TOP OF the frame drops and stilted movement means that the gaming experience isn't so smooth and pleasant.

I might update this post if I find a better middle ground as I play some more. I won't refund my purchase, but if it keeps being annoying, I will wait for a patch that remedies many of the graphics glitches.
 
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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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UPDATE:
I played it on my PC and it runs smooth as silk. Almost no visual hiccups. I now have everything on ultra, and it is a pretty solid 70+ fps. That's good enough for me with this game.
It's quite fun so far.

FYI, here are my laptop specs, and my PC specs, in case you were wondering how it might compare to your system(s):

Laptop:
Asus ROG Zephyrus, i7 9750H, 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 Max Q, 1TB Sabrent Rocket M.2 NVMe SSD. Display was through HDMI to a 60Hz 4k TV. Even at 1080p and medium-to-high settings, it is stuttery (but playable).
I may play directly onto the laptop display soon, to check if there is any difference between the external TV display performance or not.

Desktop PC: i7 8700k, 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 Ti, 3440x1440 120Hz display (ultrawide), and my OS is on a Samsung 970 Pro M.2, but I install games onto a 1TB 960 EVO M.2 NVMe.

After a couple hours on my PC now, I haven't had a single complaint about performance. Thumbs up!
For now... Dun-dun-DUNNNNNN!
 
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n1njacatz

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May 20, 2020
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Dang that's great to hear. I played it on the PS4 for a little and the story starts out great. I might have to pick it up for PC later then.
 
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Undisclos3d

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Guerilla Gaming has just released a press statement, that they're working on fixes for the PC Version.

Quick Update regarding Player Reports

Thank you for supporting us yesterday as we launched Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition on PC! We have been enjoying a whole new wave of screenshots with the in-game Photo Mode, live streams and videos from content creators, and seeing so many new players start their journey with Aloy.

We have been monitoring all of our channels and are aware that some players have been experiencing crashes and other technical issues. Please know that we are investigating your reports as our highest priority.

We appreciate those who have already taken the time to report their issues on Steam, Reddit, or via our website. If you are still encountering crashes or bugs, please continue to use those spaces, or refer to our FAQ if you are unsure of how to proceed. Your reports are, and have already been, incredibly helpful for our teams.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to investigate issues; we will update you all as soon as we have more news.

–Guerrilla
 
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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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That's cool. It's nowhere near the nightmare of the RDR2 release. That thing crashed SO MANY TIMES in 40+ hours of playing on my mega-laptop lol
 
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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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Laptop update:
Ok then, so I tried a few more things to hone in on symptoms and try to eliminate the culprit(s) of my gameplay display woes.

I think this game is bugged when doing ANYTHING at 4k resolution.
I played straight from the laptop display (144Hz 1080p), and there were no issues at all. It played very smoothly. All those mistimed frame synch issues, and the laggy cache-dump symptoms went away.
I also bumped all settings to "Ultra", and enabled HDR... still worked great.

I then plugged the HDMI into the TV to determine if it was external display connection issues. However, this time I went into Nvidia Control Panel and forced 1080p resolution onto the TV. I loaded HORIZON, and it worked fine. Granted, the FOV looked too constrained (just like my first post when I started playing on the TV), and I don't like the way the grass looks... but the game worked fine.

I notice many complaints are about how terribly HORIZON adjusts resolution on-the-fly to maintain designated framerates (shifting 4k to 1440p and back, for example). If I recall, the Digital Foundry video was focused on getting the best possible graphics settings; at 4k. A myriad of issues erupted, such as not properly utilizing AF, and upconverting 1080p to 4k on load until you go to menu settings and flip "windowed" mode back to "fullscreen", kicking it into native 4k.

It doesn't look as good at 1080p. There is more aliasing, the grass looks like it's ripped from "Borderlands" as I mentioned before, etc.. but I think some of that might be due to forcing a 4k display to use non-native resolution, and so many of those faults would not be so prominent if it was displaying at native 4k, on a 4k display.

So, for all y'all out there thinking about getting the game before a patch... if you have a 1080p, or a native 1440p display, or even ultrawide 3440x1440 resolution, you might have a lot less to worry about.

Hope that helps.
 
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KcMsterpce

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May 20, 2020
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I'm about 10 hours into Horizon. It's quite good. I am enjoying it. The end.
 
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